Pesticides & Machinery Used for Wheat Growth

Written by holly huntington
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Pesticides & Machinery Used for Wheat Growth
A combine cuts and collects wheat when it is ready for harvesting. (moisson du blé image by Pascal Martin from Fotolia.com)

Pesticides are used to kill enemies of wheat crops and to ensure a greater wheat harvest. In fact, more than 50 such pesticides exist. But according to a National Public Radio from June 2009, pesticide use can actually decrease a farmer's wheat crop after years of continued use.

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History

Long ago, growing wheat used to be simply a matter of broadcasting (throwing) the seed by hand on top of the prepared soil after a farmer's team of horses had turned the dirt with a plough. At harvest time, the farmer would then use a sickle to reap the wheat harvest and pummel the wheat stalks upon a hard surface, separating the wheat from the chaff. But the production process involves much more advanced machinery now.

Types

Various types of machinery are involved in the wheat-growing process: planting, harvesting, storage and processing equipment. Likewise, chemicals (herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides) used during the wheat growing process number as many as 50 different types, according to the Pesticide Action Network. Malathion is one wheat pesticide used, while dimethoate is another. Chlorpyrifos, sulphur, propargite and cyhalothrin lambda are other pesticides used for growing wheat.

Planting Machinery

Wheat growers pull ploughs behind their tractors, which kill weeds as it turns over the soil that will be used for planting and growing wheat. After the soil has been turned over, the plough is unhooked from the tractor and replaced with a disk harrow, which works to break up the soil even more. Once larger pieces of soil have been broken down into smaller chunks, a grain drill is attached to the tractor and used to sow the seed through drilled holes in the soil, according to Oklahoma State University.

Harvesting Machinery

A combine instead of a tractor is used to cut and collect the grain once it is ready to be harvested. When the bin attached to the combine becomes full, wheat contents are emptied from it and placed into a truck, freeing the combine to continue cutting and collecting the harvested wheat. The truck takes the collected wheat to a grain elevator for storage. Equipment within the grain elevator thrusts the wheat upwards into a bin for storage purposes.

Mill Processing Machinery

Machines with disks separate kernels of wheat from other types of seeds, stones and dirt mixed in with the wheat. A large magnet is used to remove farm machinery rivets as well as nuts that could have made their way into the harvesting process and resulting wheat collected. A water machine further separates the wheat from lighter and heavier materials, which float away or sink to the bottom of the machine. Machines with rollers crack the wheat kernels and yet other machines shake wheat through screens to further reduce it. Before smooth roller grinding machines crush wheat into finer and finer flour, air currents are used to blow away the bran, which will be used as animal feed.

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